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Taking marsh measurements at Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge. Credit: Tom Sturm/USFWS
Credit: Tom Sturm/USFWS

Taking marsh measurements at Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge.

Raising Up Marshes in the Race Against Sea-Level Rise

April 12, 2016 - The tidal marshes at Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge are getting a lift – literally. An innovative effort to help protect marshes from rising seas is underway at Maidford River marshlands in Rhode Island. The work involves raising the elevation of the marsh by spraying extra layers of wet sand over top, adding anywhere from an inch to a foot of sand. After the sand has been added, staff will re-plant the area with marsh grasses, sometime in mid-May. (See video of the work.)

While salt marshes naturally move and grow, they have not been able to keep up with the rate of sea-level rise – high water is essentially drowning them out. The idea behind elevating the marsh is to hopefully give the habitat a chance to keep pace with sea-level rise, ensuring that tidal marshes persist into the future.

Salt marshes are home to a wide variety of plants and animals like the saltmarsh sparrow, which nests in tidal marshes. But salt marshes also provide incredible natural benefits to people by cleaning and filtering water and buffering coasts from wind and waves. The restoration of 11 acres at Maidford is part of a larger effort to restore 400 acres of tidal marshes along the coast of Rhode Island and improve coastal resiliency for storm protection.

Watch a video

Learn more about the project

Read a recent article in the Providence Journal

Published on: Tuesday, April 12, 2016

 

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Last updated: April 10, 2018